Gareon Conley

Raiders first-round pick Gareon Conley having surgery

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Raiders first-round pick Gareon Conley having surgery

Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley will have surgery to repair his injured shin on Monday, a week after he was placed on season-ending injured reserve.

This year’s No. 24 overall pick announced that news in an Instagram post, accompanied by a picture of his young son.

Surgery was always a likely outcome after heading to IR, though the team never formally stated that would occur.

The Raiders believe Conley will return completely healthy for the 2018 campaign, and have high hopes for him as a lock down cover man.

They could certainly use him this season. He was expected to contribute heavily as a rookie, but a shin injury suffered in a June minicamp prevented that from happening. He missed training camp and the entire preseason slate, but eventually made his NFL debut in Week 2. He suffered a setback in a Week 3 game at Washington, and was shut down indefinitely on Oct. 6.

Conley was re-evaluated early last week, and the Raiders didn’t see enough progress to keep him on the 2017 roster.

The Raiders are lacking at cornerback with Conley down and David Amerson dealing with a foot injury.

Head coach Jack Del Rio will speak to the media Monday afternoon, and provide an update on Conley’s procedure.

Gareon Conley's rookie season is over, Raiders place CB on Reserve/Injured List

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Gareon Conley's rookie season is over, Raiders place CB on Reserve/Injured List

The Raiders believed cornerback Gareon Conley would make an instant impact. The No. 24 overall pick wowed during the offseason program, showing great agility, change of direction and ball skills.

And, of course, the dude's got quicks.

A June shin injury made that impossible. He missed training camp and the entire preseason slate. He played in Week 2 suffered a setback in Week 3. He last played then and last practiced Oct. 6.

Conley was shut down indefinitely, and the Raiders waited and waited and waited some more for him to get right. They gave up hope on Monday, placing the Ohio State product on injured reserve.

Defensive Tackle Darius Latham was activated in a corresponding move, following a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

That doesn’t satisfy the secondary’s need for reinforcements. David Amerson’s expected to return from a foot injury will help some. The Raiders should probably sign someone else. Sean Smith, Dexter McDonald and TJ Carrie have worked without a safety net the past two weeks, as the team’s only healthy cornerbacks.

That’s a dicey way to play, especially with New England next on the schedule.

Signing someone off the street won’t have the impact a healthy Conley could’ve, but that never came to pass. Rest and rehab didn’t help an ailing shin that was obviously more than shin splints. NFL Network reports that Conley has medical options, and that surgery is likely.

The Raiders planned on having him play in the slot at least, though he likely would’ve been an every-down contributor in a lackluster secondary.

“There's no question we miss him,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said Friday, before the IR move. “He came in hitting the ground running. We felt really good about him during the offseason until he got kicked. That’s the way it is. He’s a good football player and he’ll have a great career.”

The Raiders will likely go with Amerson and Carrie on the outside, with Smith as a third cornerback in passing situations. Carrie has been moving to the slot in those situations. Dexter McDonald should become a fourth cornerback, especially after Smith has played better in recent weeks.

 

Big decision coming for Raiders' injured first-round pick

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Big decision coming for Raiders' injured first-round pick

ALAMEDA – Gareon Conley is arguably the Raiders’ most talented cornerback. This year’s No. 24 overall pick is smooth in coverage technique and instinctive making plays on the ball. He runs like a gazelle, with confidence to spare.

In short, he’s a natural.

Raiders fans haven’t seen that much. Conley missed training camp, all four exhibitions and the regular-season opener with a shin injury suffered in a June minicamp. His NFL debut came in Week 2, and he looked good. Conley appeared again the next week, and looked slow. Conley hasn’t played since.

He was set to be the slot cornerback at least. More likely, especially how this season’s played out, Conley would’ve been an every-down guy.

“There's no question we miss him,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “He came in hitting the ground running. We felt really good about him during the offseason until he got kicked. That’s the way it is. He’s a good football player and he’ll have a great career.”

It’s uncertain when it’ll restart. That could happen later this year, or get pushed back to 2018. We’ll know earlier next week.

This shin injury has taken far longer than expected to heal, from the original injury and the setback that has kept him from playing since Sept. 24 and practicing since Oct. 6.

“People’s bodies are different,” McKenzie said. “When you have those types of injuries, you wait and see if it can heal and feel better and get well enough to play. He was feeling better early in the season, and then he had a setback. We’re trying to give it some time to calm down and to see if he can play.”

Conley’s playing prospects are based on what he’s able to do next week. If he can get back to practice, Conley will try and work his way back into the mix. If he’s still not ready, the Raiders will place him on season-ending injured reserve.

“Right now, we’ll see what happens after we come back from the weekend,” McKenzie said. “We’ll see if we can do anything early in the week. We’ll make our determination from there.

“…If he can’t go, he can’t go. Then we’ll just have to move on, but we’re going to give him every opportunity to see if he can do it.”